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Erling Haaland scores two goals as Manchester City secures a 3-0 victory over Burnley in their opening match

Erling Haaland scores two goals as Manchester City secures a 3-0 victory over Burnley in their opening match

Erling Haaland returned to form with a devastating display of finishing as Manchester City opened their Premier League title defense with a convincing victory at Burnley.

The prolific scorer, who last season helped City win the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League with 52 goals, scored his first goal of the new season in just 185 seconds, dealing the newly promoted Clarets a blow from which they never fully recovered.

After Rodri’s header off Kevin de Bruyne’s cross, Haaland pounced in the area and, after 36 minutes, curled a beautiful left-foot shot past Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford into the top corner to effectively end the game.

Burnley, encouraged by a boisterous home crowd, never gave up, but City’s dominance grew more resolute as time went on. Rodri scored the third goal with 15 minutes left after the home defense failed to clear a free-kick.

When De Bruyne limped off after only 23 minutes to be replaced by summer acquisition Mateo Kovacic, City’s otherwise flawless night was only slightly soured.

After a video assistant referee review for a dangerous lunge on Kyle Walker, Burnley had Anass Zaroury dismissed in stoppage time.

Simply put, Man City have too much.

Despite winning to start the season, Manchester City inevitably showed signs of rust, as evidenced by the ebullient demeanor of perfectionist manager Pep Guardiola.

If goal-scoring machine Haaland was anticipating a congrats arm around the shoulder from his manager as he left the field at halftime, he was in for a rude awakening when he received an stern lecture from Guardiola, who insisted a cameraman move out of the way as he spoke to the striker.

He was obviously looking for even more from Haaland, who displayed his deadly economy by scoring twice in the first half on just six touches.

Even though it seems absurd to say that Haaland was frequently out of the center of the action, his skill in front of goal allows him to still make the difference and lay the groundwork for the champions’ easy victory.

De Bruyne was replaced by Kovacic without incident, but Guardiola and City will be seriously concerned about the Belgian’s ongoing injury issues. He was forced to leave the Champions League final victory over Inter Milan after just 36 minutes due to a serious hamstring injury, and he spent the summer recovering. He had a dejected expression as he left this field.

The rest of City’s first Premier League night went well, so they will be hoping that the injury to such a crucial player, who had already set up Haaland’s opening goal, is not serious.

Burnley can still have hope despite their loss, according to Kompany.

Burnley faced the hardest possible start to life back in the Premier League as manager Vincent Kompany tried to plot the demise of the Treble winners and the club where he rose to fame as the club’s inspirational captain during their heyday.

The outcome was already decided after City took an early lead, but Burnley displayed real heart and character, even giving Guardiola’s team pause when Lyle Foster and Zeki Amdouni threatened.

They were ultimately defeated by some shoddy defending, but more so by Haaland’s scavenging prowess and predatory instincts. They won’t be the last team to meet this fate this year.

Manchester city

Burnley stuck to Kompany’s passing strategies, which helped them win the Championship so convincingly the previous season, and Trafford, the star goalie of England’s victory at the European Under-21 Championship in July, had a strong debut against his old team.

Although this was the most rigorous test of all, Kompany’s players got a head start on what will be expected of them this season, and even though they lost, there will still be plenty to inspire them. Burnley removed a fan from Turf Moor after City defender Rico Lewis was hit with an object, and there was some jeering when the players took the knee before the game.

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